Brechin boss Michael Paton insists the sudden shutdown won’t derail their brave bid to stay up.
The 31-year-old is the youngest manager in the SPFL and finds himself in a basement battle, just two points behind second-bottom Albion Rovers in their quest to avoid relegation from League Two.
Paton, who only took over from ex-Dundee United and Celtic star Mark Wilson in early November, had been relishing this weekend’s proposed fixture away to Stirling Albion until the SFA imposed a three-week shutdown on the lower leagues earlier this week.
But the former Aberdeen ace is vowing the Angus outfit will come back from their enforced lay-off stronger than before.
‘We’re focusing on using this time wisely’
Paton said: “It’s a bit frustrating as we were on the right track – although we fully respect the reasons for the decision.
“We were getting to know each other. As a new squad, things were slowly coming together which was encouraging.
“Now we’re focusing on using this time wisely.
“It means we can take a little step back to assess where we’re going, what we can strive to do better.
“There’s so much is still up in the air but we’ve got to still try and prepare as much as we can for the day when we do return.
“For example, the players understand they need to keep fit in their own time.
“As soon as we got the news earlier this week about the shutdown, we created a fitness programme.
“We also gave them a nutrition programme. This gives them a target to achieve within three weeks and a bit of knowledge about what they should be eating for their own good.”
Paton knows how vital it is for his players to be in tip-top condition for the challenge which lies ahead.
He added: “We need to hit the ground running.
“We’ve been working on getting the boys fitter since Gerry McCabe (assistant manager) and I first came in back in November.
‘We’ll be fit and ready to go after shutdown’
“Any slight advantage we can gain over our opponents can only be a good thing.
“So being physically fit when you’re in our position facing such a battle over the coming weeks is a priority.
“We’re such a young squad that it’s inevitable we’ll be inconsistent. That’s part and parcel of it.
“But one thing guaranteed is that we’ll be fit and ready to go.
“I can’t wait for it all to get started again. There’s still 18 games remaining and we believe in each other at the club that we can stay up.”